Link to What's New This Week. Issue No. 6 for Week of October 1, 2006

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Art as a Stimulus to Voice
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Public Works Art Exhibit

Public Works Art Exhibit: Believe It. Own It. Series 1

Believe It. Own It. Series 1

 

RESOURCES: Community Building - Visual Sociology - Message Building
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 30, 2006
Latest Update: October 2, 2006

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takata@uwp.edu

Topic of the Week:

Finding a Voice Long Suppressed

Colonialism speaks of the difficulty of discovering the indigenous identity, who we were before we were colonized.

Sociology 370 is an advanced undergraduate class in sociology. It involves practice in the skills of argument. Skills we've been given short shrift in education for decades now. We've been focusing on banked education instead process and generative education. Moot Court is law school's technique for moving to process and generative education within their disciplined thinking. We have adapted their praxis model to practice in the skills of civil discourse on the "focal things" in our everyday lives: things like tolerance, racial understanding, individual responsibility to community, community-building, and so on.

Because most people today get their information from the dominant discourse as reflected on TV, newspapers, or the even more limited special channels and media related to specific interest groups, there are very few forums in which community members find the occasion to talk together about focal things. The sound bite has come to reign. Popular culture, art and music, are powerful components of communicatiion. This project in community building builds on art as means to disseminate broadly solid information (from a scholarly perspective) translated into visual sound bites and repeated in converstations stimulated by those sound bites.

This is not an art class, and we're not planning to produce great art. We are planning to use art as a means of expressing our feelings and improving our skills in answerability. Many of us learn visually. The great advantage of one-sided argument is that you can use sound bites, visual bits like flags, swastikas, images of pretty girls to get your message across or sell your message, especially in advertising.

One of the disasters of democratic elections in the last fifty years is the extent to which she who has the most money can buy the most imagery on TV or newspaper space, and all other means of presenting her argument most effectively to persuade you to vote for her or to buy her product. Art and music, popular culture, are a big part of that.

In the first week we made dolls that opened up to fascinate and stand on a counter or be hung from a convenient spot. The dolls opened up to offer the message: Say Hello to a Neighbor. Your children liked them. We liked them. Your neighbors would like them if you' d take a minute to make a few you can share. That's called community building. On a very small scale, but a very important scale.

Now, we want to proceed past simple dolls strung together to more elaborate handmade art that can break important social, economic, political, and spiritual messages down to sound bites, and then use them to stimulate conversation on focal things, issues and events that really matter in our lives. To do that I want to share techniques for making art that you can learn with relatively little effort and produce small pieces that are made for the moment, without any pretense about "great art." Making art is as important in its own way as the "great art" of museums. (Eva Hesse.)

To this end, we'll offer you rubber stamps, for those who prefer a ready made image. Collage for those who like to find the whole image ready made. Ready mades, themselves. In other words, finding things in which you can see art where others see only a useful product or trash. And putting these together into an exhibit that will serve as a stimulus for conversations on focal thngs.

Link to my weekly plans and critiques for specific activities. jeanne

References:

NEWS, Announcements, and

Current Events Discussion Topics:

  • Plans for Wednesday, October 4, 2006.

    Index of Art Project Instructions

  • Critiques of Work from Week 6, Wednesday, October 4, 2006.

  • Community Building Preparations:

    Consider how art work in progress can be used to stimulate conversation on current events of major importance to you. Remember that you don't want to use the academic language of theories with friends and neighbors who are unlikely to have encountered them. Instead, our goal is simply to make people aware of current issues in plain English. You might want to look at the list of topics on the syllabus for ideas.

    Remember that these are conversations, not classes. Find simple, brief messages. Things likely to stick in your head, like Juliette's "opium of the mases." When possible make a simple card you're willing to part with. Little pockets with words that will bring the dialog up in memory are a great idea. For example, Tony, I'd love to see you make a simple little card you could leave with those you talk to, on which there's a little pocket out of which you could pull the word, "Taliban." It's not on TV enough for most folks to remember how it's spelled. But seeing it on your card, by interactively pulling it out, could help people recognize it when they see it. Since Afghanistan is heating up again, that seems like a good idea.

    Check out the story-telling we are beginning to do. Some of the stories will work with kids; some with friends; some with family. Stories are great ways to begin conversations about things that matter.

    Stories

    • My Theory of Everything - jeanne's serial novel. Three stories in the works, in concjunction with my conceptual drawing and painting. Up soon. jeanne

    Black and green roses finding solace in one another. Done with Koh-i-noor color pencils and a water pen. jeanne

    Black and green roses finding solace in one another.

    Do you think they'll live happily ever after? After all, she is trapped in that pot, and he just has a big old ball of roots.

Visual Sociology

SquiggleA Range of Sources on Global Info

Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times - The National Review
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Sierra Club - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal - The Weekly Standard - The Nation - The Cato Institute (Libertarian)
BBC NEWS | Americas
- truthout - Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - La Opinion - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor - Palestine Report
The American Prospect

Memorandum, Political Web - Diggs - College Network of New York Times - New York Times Learning Network

The American Enterprise Institute

Indymedia - Mother Jones - BBC News - New Profile - KPFK Progressive Radio
Progressive Sociologists Network Environmental Working Group - Mirror of Justice

Theory, Policy, Practice of a Career by jeanne and Susan.
Digital Dissertations, with abstracts online. Has search mechanism with keywords, author, etc.
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Online articles.
Evangelical Philosophical Society
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)



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